Advance Wars 2: Black Hole RisingReviewed By:
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
The original Advance Wars was possibly THE BEST Strategy game on a handheld system, if not one of the best overall. However, you can take your original A.W. cartridge and shove it in the drawer thanks to Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising. This game, in my opinion, is the best non-online strategy game there is, even though it's on a handheld system. A.W.2 isn't just a normal upgrade from the first game, no sirree, and you'll soon find out why.
Graphics: 10 out of 10- No longer do you have to look at bland color changes to distinguish who's attacking who in the battle sequences. You now can tell quite a difference from each providence's units and how they look, ESPECIALLY Black Holes, who's units are very unique looking. The landscapes haven't changed a TON from the first game in terms of graphics, although the addition of Laser Cannons, Pipelines and Secret Labs add a bit of flare on the field. The new Neotanks look totally awesome on the field and in battle sequence, not to mention they pack a HUGE punch against any land unit. Also you can notice that the characters have gotten a bit of an art upgrade as well, plus you get the 7 new C.O.s to look at too!
Sound: 10 out of 10- Each C.O. has their own music when it's their turn. Good guy C.O.s and Black Hole C.O.s have different music when their C.O. abilities are used. The sound effects represent quite truly to explosions :). I just wish they had an options menu with sound test on it so I could listen to all the cool C.O. music whenever I wanted!
Gameplay: 10 out of 10- The gameplay goes even beyond what I had expected from this game. The AI is smarter and tougher (I won't even go into how hard the Advance Campaign is this time around) and you have to use every inch of your mind to think your way through the tons of missions you have to go through. Also you get TWO C.O. powers for each C.O.! (Exception being Sturm who only gets one) This time around you don't just play as Orange Star either, no no no! This time in Campaign mode you get to play as Orange Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet AND Green Earth, all of whom are struggling to push Black Hole forces out of their territory. In addition to using many of the forces you fought against in the original A.W. there are also 3 new C.O.s to USE in campaign mode Blue Moon has Colin, a rich boy who envies Olaf and Grits skills as C.O.s. Yellow Comet has Sensei, a Paratrooper who in his olden days as a C.O. was un-beatable! And Green Earth has Jess, she's the land master of Green Earth, while Eagle remains in control of the skies and Drake still is a master of the sea. However besides the new C.O.s you get to use, Sturm has four new C.O.s to do his bidding…Flak, commonly refereed to as the big ape by Max of Orange Star, is a very powerful, but very inaccurate brute who rarely uses strategy and instead goes with Brute Force (A.K.A. one of his C.O. powers).
Then there is Lash, the pale skinned genius/maniac girl with the spiky afro, she may be a devious strategist, but she thinks of war as a game, which is a huge downfall of hers. Then we have Adder, the self absorbed zombie-ish looking C.O., he has no real downfall, his units all have average strength, his C.O. powers allow him to move further, all in all he's an Average C.O. who is quite tough to beat. Then there is Sturm's #1 man, Hawke, this guy is TOUGH! Not only do all his units have upgraded power, but his C.O. powers deals damage to all of your units while healing his own! His only downside is that his C.O. power charges much slower than others. When it comes right down to it, the gameplay of A.W.2 is probably better than any other GB or GBA game out there. Oh and I almost forgot, there are quite a few missions where multiple C.O.s are selected to help, these missions are, to me, the most fun out of all of them because you get to utilize both C.O.s potential and combine them to stop the enemy!
Story: 10 out of 10 - Many people probably are thinking right now "How could he give a 10 to the story of a GBA
Christian Value: 4 out of 5 - This would have gotten a perfect 5 if it wasn't for this being a War game. However like the first A.W. the units only get blown up or blown off screen, no blood or anything of the sort.
Overall: 10 out of 10 - This game is a MUST HAVE if you liked the first A.W. Even if you haven't played the first, try this game! Buy at least try to play the original first. In conclusion, if you have a GBA, then buy this game!!!
Note: This game may be harder for younger children, and heck it's hard for even the most veteran of A.W. junkies like me in the later missions and the Advance Campaign. So just be aware that although this game is extremely fun, it is quite hard!
Year of Release—2003
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.